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Richard Leach Maddox

1816 — 1902

Richard Maddox was an English photographer and physician who invented lightweight gelatin negative plates for photography in 1871. Dry plate is a glass plate coated with a gelatin emulsion of silver bromide. It can be stored until exposure, and after exposure it can be brought back to a darkroom for development at leisure.

The advantages of the dry plate were obvious: photographers could use commercial dry plates off the shelf instead of having to prepare their own emulsions in a mobile darkroom. Negatives did not have to be developed immediately. Also, for the first time, cameras could be made small enough to be hand-held, or even concealed: further research created fast exposure times, which led to 'snapshot' photography (and the 'Kodak' camera with roll film), ultimately paving the way for cinematography.

Maddox was awarded the John Scott Medal in 1889 and the Royal Photographic Society's Silver Progress Medal in 1901.

Last Updated on: 2024-02-28